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  • Jeramy Woodhill

AV Terms Defined: What Does Audio Visual Mean?

AV Terms Defined: What Does Audio Visual Mean?

Whether you're setting up a conference room or outfitting a church or stadium with audio visual (AV) equipment, there are a lot of AV terms that may get tossed around the planning and execution table. If you’re just getting started with an AV installation project, these terms and acronyms can be confusing. (In fact, it’s not unusual for people to ask us what “audio visual” itself means!) The list below includes many of the most common audio visual-related terms—and a broad audio visual definition; bookmark this page for easy reference so you’ll never be left in the dark.

Audio Visual Definition: What does audio visual mean?

Audio visual refers to the electronic equipment or media that hosts both the video and sound components of a production. This might include projectors, video screens, microphones, web streaming equipment, live broadcasting equipment, or many other types of technology.

As for the meaning of audio visual production, it refers to the operation and maintenance of the audio and video equipment used for events such as film projection, presentations, television programs, connecting professionals in corporate conference rooms, or broadcasting live productions like concerts, theatre, or church services.

Audio Video Terminology: The Ultimate List Of AV Terms

This audio visual glossary covers all the terms you might hear in reference to your AV equipment or planning practices.


4K is a generic term that refers to any resolution with a horizontal pixel count of approximately 4,000.. You will have likely heard or seen the term 4K in reference to TV’s or displays with high definition (HD) video. Digital television commonly uses several different 4K resolutions, however television and consumer media most commonly use displays with a pixel count of 3840 x 2160, which is referred to as 4K ultra high definition (UHD).


AI is an acronym that stands for artificial intelligence. AI is the simulation of human intelligence by machines or computer systems; it is typically used to monitor AV equipment from afar. For example, AI could be used to automatically detect and fix technical problems in real time, like turning on a fan for an overheating amplifier.


AIA is an acronym for the American Institute of Architects, which offers courses and certifications in audio visual design.


ADA is an acronym for the Americans with Disabilities Act, a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. AV integrators are required to make sure their designs are accessible for everyone. This may mean including a voice activation feature, installing a switch a certain height above the ground so someone in a wheelchair could reach it, or providing listening assistance equipment for those who are hard of hearing.


APEX is an acronym for the Audio visual Provider of Excellence program offered by AVIXA, which honors members and companies that achieve certain levels of employee certification and training.


​​AR is an acronym for augmented reality. Initially considered a gimmick for gamers or social media users, AR has not been consistently integrated into AV design in creative displays. Now, conference rooms or classrooms might be outfitted with an interactive whiteboard or screen using AR technology.


AV is an acronym for audio visual, a blanket term that refers to all equipment within AV systems, activities, and related topics in the AV world.


AVaaS is an acronym for AV as a Service. Some AV integration firms will monitor and maintain your AV equipment remotely as part of an AVaaS offering.


AVB is an acronym for Audio Video Bridging, which refers to equipment that combines audio and video together. This type of equipment takes the signals from a camera and a microphone and connects them.


AVIXA is an acronym for Audio visual and Integrated Experience Association. AVIXA is a trade association that represents the professional AV and information communications industries around the world. It is most well known for producing the InfoComm trade shows and for issuing professional AV certifications.


AVL is an acronym for audio video lighting. It’s an umbrella term used to refer to anything that includes the lighting portion of production.


AVoIP is an acronym for AV over IP, or the transfer of audio visual data over a client's IP network. AVoIP is a sister term to over IP (OIP), which refers to the transfer of any type of information (like audio or video files) over an IP network. AVoIP specifically refers to the transfer of video, and might be used when referring to the equipment that allows two people to chat over Zoom in a conference room, for example.


BYOD is an acronym for bring your own device, a trend in corporate settings where employees bring their own equipment to work, to a conference room, or to a virtual space. When it comes to outfitting conference rooms for BYOD companies, AV integrators must design the space to accommodate multiple types of computers or mobile devices to use when video conferencing or presenting.


CAD is an acronym for computer aided design. CAD typically refers to the software AV integrators use to create drawings when designing spaces.


CEDIA is an acronym for the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association, a trade association for companies that specialize in designing and installing AV solutions for the home.


An AV consultant generates system designs and manages client requirements by digging deep into an AV installation to analyze and design systems that uniquely accommodate all the technology requirements for the customer. AV consultants develop fully integrated systems and solutions by using the most current technology available.

Consultants also can provide solutions for updating a client's current system to meet growing or evolving requirements. Consequently, a good AV consultant will help a client or company stick to a budget without compromising quality, by keeping up to date on the latest audio visual technologies. Finally, AV consultants maintain an excellent track record of providing services tailor-made for a client's specific needs.


CTA is an acronym for Consumer Tech Association, the organization that produces the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES).


CTS is an acronym for Certified Technology Specialist, which refers to an AV professional who is certified by AVIXA’s Pro AV Certification Program. CTS-D refers to a specialty in design, whereas CTS-I refers to a specialty in equipment installation. Many Aspen Custom Electronics’ staff members possess relevant AVIXA certifications.


Dante is an acronym for Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet, which allows AV professionals the ability to replace point-to-point audio connections with networking transmission. This creates the ability to take hundreds of channels of uncompressed, multi-channel, high resolution audio, and then package it and convert it to internet protocol (IP) at high speeds using a network managed via ethernet cabling.

Dante makes these connections easier to use, and allows for more scalable and flexible solutions for audio distribution. For example, one audio signal (like a music stream) can be transmitted to any device on the same network, the same way you can send a spreadsheet to a printer, using Dante.


DMX stands for Digital Multi-PleXing and is a standard for digital communication via networks that is commonly used to control stage equipment such as lighting, and effects. DMX can handle up to 512 different channels.


DSE is an acronym for Digital Signage Expo, the world’s largest trade show dedicated to showcasing digital display and interactive technology solutions.


DSF is an acronym for Digital Signage Federation, a not-for-profit trade group representing the digital signage industry and founders of the DSE.


DSP is an acronym for digital signal processing or processor, and is a system that manipulates audio signals to achieve a certain goal. For example, a DSP might use an algorithm to detect an audio source, and isolate it from any unwanted noise, making this audio more clear.

Multiple algorithms can be used simultaneously to process audio in multiple ways to meet more complex goals, like eliminating feedback from a microphone by simultaneously processing the audio coming out of the speaker to distribute it’s sound.


dvLED is an acronym for Direct View LED, a type of display that utilizes light emitting diodes (or LED). Normally, LED’s are used for backlighting, but in this scenario, they’re used as pixels to make a larger picture. This is commonly used in settings that require larger display sizes, such as video walls and scoreboards in arenas.


HDBaseT is an acronym for high-definition video, audio, power, home networking, Ethernet, USB, & control over category cable. HDBaseT refers to a secure transmission protocol used to transmit video or audio from one point to another via the internet by encoding them into small packets and then decoding them on the other end to be viewed or heard.


HDCP is an acronym for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, a form of copy protection that prevents the copying of audio or video content as it travels across cables or connections by scrambling signals along the way.


HDMI is an acronym for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, an uncompressed digital connector that provides an interface between 8-channel digital audio and high definition television (HDTV) standards.


An integrator is a company that assembles an AV system out of a variety of parts on behalf of a client. Aspen Custom Electronics is an AV integrator.


ISE is an acronym for Integrated Systems Europe, the largest pro AV trade show in the world.


LED is an acronym for light-emitting diode, a material that emits light when electricity passes through it. LED is typically used in reference to a particular type of lightbulb used in AV equipment.


LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, a building certification standard used for green or sustainable construction.


NSCA is an acronym for National Systems Contractors Association, a not-for-profit association representing the commercial electronic systems industry and founder of such programs as IGNITE, Pivot to Profit, and more.


OFE is an acronym for owner-furnished equipment—equipment that a client already owns when an AV installation project begins. For example, this could be speakers or TVs already installed in a conference room.


OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode, a polymer or other organic substance used as a semiconductor in an LED. LED technology is an older version of OLED, which includes a backlight that’s built into a display so a screen doesn’t dim over time.


PIP is an acronym for picture in picture, which refers to overlaying one video on another. This is most typically used in a conference room setting when video chatting, where participants can see their own video as well as that of the person they’re talking to.


PoE is an acronym for power over ethernet. This is a system that powers electronic devices through ethernet cabling, without the need for batteries or a wall outlet. For example, without PoE, installing a touch panel on a wall would require hiring an electrician to power that device, but a POE device gets its power directly from the network switch it’s connected to.


PSNI is an acronym for Professional Systems Network International, an alliance of integrators, manufacturers, and distributors around the world dedicated to creating industry standards.


PTZ is an acronym for Pan-Tilt-Zoom, and refers to the movement that remotely enabled cameras can perform. These types of cameras are frequently used by houses of worship and event spaces to record events. Rather than staying stationary, these cameras can move on a swivel, allowing one person to control their movements to acheive the best camera angles.


RFP is an acronym for request for proposals, a bid created by an AV integrator to be considered by a client.


ROI is an acronym for return on investment, a term that refers to measuring how a particular installation has positively impacted a business.


SaaS is an acronym for software as a service; it is mostly used when referring to AV as a service (AVaaS).


SDI is an acronym for Serial Digital Interface, the standard for digital video that’s uncompressed and transmitted over a standard 75-ohm coaxial cable. A data transmission speed of 270 mbps is commonly used. SDI is commonly used for broadcasting video signals like cameras or TV broadcasts to other devices such as video switchers or production equipment.


SDVoE is an acronym for software-defined video over ethernet, an AVoIP protocol that uses off-the-shelf ethernet switches. It’s very similar to AVoIP but uses software-based transmission as opposed to transmission over an IP network. For example, in order to transmit data from an app on your phone to your laptop, you’re likely using software to do so, not your company’s network.


VAR is an acronym for value-added reseller. AV integrators are resellers of audio visual equipment for manufacturers.


VR is an acronym for virtual reality, a term that, in an AV setting, is most often used in reference to virtual conference rooms.

Any questions about this audio video glossary—or other audio video terms? Ask us at Aspen Custom Electronics—we’re happy to help!


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